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PhD Studentship - Exploration of extracellular RNA (exRNA) from hepatocellular carcinoma patients serum for biomarker discovery

   Translational and Clinical Research Institute

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  Dr Ruchi Shukla, Dr H Reeves  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project


Deaths from primary liver cancer are rising dramatically in the UK, secondary to obesity, diabetes and alcohol related liver diseases. Patients typically present at an advanced stage. Until recently, there haven’t been many treatments for them. That has changed, with a number of therapies now available, but only a handful respond, while others suffer side effects. Are you interested in making a difference and working out which treatments are better for individual patients? This PhD project is focused on discovering predictive biomarkers that will guide treatment selection.

With funding from CRUK programme and Accelerator awards, we have generated ‘state-of-the-art’ biobank containing tissue and blood samples for patients suffering from liver cancer. We lead a nationwide network called ‘HUNTER’, collaborating with Spain and Italy. The student will become part of the network and be focused the optimisation of novel cutting-edge biomedical ‘liquid biopsy’ techniques detecting changes in patients blood associated with cancers and response to therapies. 

Aligned with Newcastle University Cancer Centre’s focus, drug target and biomarker discovery, the project will provide an opportunity to develop skills in a variety of biomedical techniques ranging from clinical samples processing to molecular-biology along with project management skills - including data interpretation, analysis – including bioinformatics - and problem solving, supervised by Dr Ruchi Shukla. HTA compliance training will be provided and the student will acquire a Clinical Research Passport, supervised by Professor Reeves. This will enable the student to engage with the clinical data collection and interpretation of data alongside clinical endpoints. The student will be encouraged to actively engage in regular group meetings and attend conferences to develop scientific communication skills. 

Number Of Awards


Start Date


Award Duration

3 years.


Newcastle University Faculty Medical Sciences


Professor Helen Reeves, Dr Ruchi Shukla and Dr David Jamieson.

Eligibility Criteria

You must have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 honours degree or international equivalent, in a subject relating to biomedical sciences, including biochemistry and physiology. Further qualification such as an MRes is advantageous.

This award is available to UK and international applicants. Successful international candidates will be required to make up the difference between the UK fees and international fees.

Successful EU applicants will be considered for the Vice-Chancellor’s EU Research Scholarship.

English Language requirements: IELTS 6.5 overall, with 5.5 or more in each sub-skill.

How To Apply

You must apply through the University’s online postgraduate application system. To do this please ‘Create a new account’.

Only mandatory fields need to be completed. However, you will need to include the following information:

• insert the programme code 8440F* in the programme of study section

• select ‘PhD Translational and Clinical Research (FT) as the programme of study

• insert the studentship code TC046 in the studentship/partnership reference field

• attach a covering letter and CV. The covering letter must state the title of the studentship, quote the studentship reference code TC046 and state how your interests and experience relate to the project

• attach degree transcripts and certificates and, if English is not your first language, a copy of your English language qualifications.

Contact Details

[Email Address Removed]

Funding Notes

100% of home tuition fees paid and annual living expenses paid at the UKRI rate (2022/2023)
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